Geosciences in Alaska


Arctic Alaska Dinosaur Project

Team Members

Preparatory Field Trip to Pt. Reyes

Field Research in Alaska

Geoscience Conceptual Framework


Trip Log: Tuesday, July 16, 2002

July 16, 2002 was the day we began our trip to Deadhorse (Prudoe Bay), where the flight to the Colville River will depart.

Our day began under a bright blue sky with scattered clouds—a warm morning at 66 degrees.

Yukon River ceremonyBy 3:00 p.m., we had reached the river where the mysterious ceremony Roland had promised to the Yukon River first-timers awaited. The feared ceremony turned out to be not so bad: standing barefoot in the river for five minutes (left). Since the water was a relatively mild 68 degrees everyone survived quite happily.

At 4:30 p.m. we reached Finger Rock. This odd rock actually does look like a large finger pointing back at Fairbanks. It is part of a plutonic inclusion: a large chunk of magma that cooled slowly under the surface. This hard rock resists weathering, and so stands out upon the surface. As we drove on, we entered the ecozone between the taiga (pine forest) and the tundra.

Using GPS at Finger Rock
Using GPS to determine latitude, longitude and elevation at Finger Rock.

Some of the porphyritic rocks we saw at the Finger Rock Overlook.

Teachers intently examining rocks at a “borrow pit” along the Dalton Highway.

Driving around the Arctic CircleAt 5:00 p.m. we were literally driving around the Arctic Circle as Roland carefully drove us around the sign marking the Arctic Circle (right). This was a great “photo op” but gazillions of black flies encouraged a short stay.

By 7:30 p.m. we had driven through the Brooks Range with its sweeping slopes, reached Coldfoot and set up camp at Marion Creek campground a few miles past Coldfoot.

Peg and Chris typing up their reportAfter a great Chicken Caesar Salad dinner prepared by Phil and Pam, we settled in for a night of slapping flies and mosquitoes.

Reporters for the day: Peg and Chris (at right, typing up this report!)

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Project partners and sponsors:
West Contra Costa Unified School District   UC Museum of Paleontology   University of Alaska Museum    National Science Foundation    The Mechanics Bank
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